Gillian McAllister’s latest novel, That Night, asks how far you would go to protect your family. Cathy, Joe and Frannie are siblings. On a holiday in Italy Cathy receives a phone call from Frannie. She’s killed a man by accident and needs her siblings’ help.. She can’t go to prison. Almost without thinking the three engage in a cover up that has far-reaching consequences.

What I love about this author are the moral dilemmas she weaves into her books. These are not just psychological thrillers. There is family and love at the very heart of them which makes them such appealing reads. In thinking about the lengths they would go to for each other I found myself pondering the same question as I read. I loved the whole family set up, the way they lived and worked in such close proximity to each other, and even holidayed together, gave it a very claustrophobic feel and there being three siblings meant that one always felt left out which added to the increasing paranoia and volatility of the characters.

That Night had me thoroughly engrossed from start to finish. It was a stroke of genius to have the crime take place in Italy so that when the family return home they are always one step removed from what is going on there. It was very easy to imagine myself in their place, with a fear of the truth catching up with them at any moment. It really made me think about the knife edge that we live on, where a split-second decision about something that could happen to any of us can be life-changing.

I would pick up a Gillian McAllister book without even bothering to find out what it was about. There are some delicious twisty moments, one where I just wasn’t sure about something and one that came out of the blue. That Night is a brilliant book, with characters and situations that popped off the page. I literally loved everything about it.

Review by Nicola Smith, Short Book and Scribes

Published by Penguin (8 July 2021)
Paperback, ISBN 978-1405942447